Three Chessplayers Named Neumann

Edward Winter



1. Gustav Richard Ludwig Neumann (1838-81)

Oded Ross (Kiryat Ono, Israel) asks for documentary evidence about Gustav Neumann’s perfect score of 34/34 in a tournament, as reported by M. Fox and R. James in their Addicts books (London, 1987 and 1993).

From the first edition (page 95):

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Neumann had died in 1881. That fact also eluded Raymond Keene when, on page 9 of The Times, 21 August 1993, the following was one of a number of paragraphs presented as ‘extracted from’ the Addicts work of Fox and James:

‘A 100 per cent score in a tournament is a rather special achievement attained by only a select few at master level. Gustav Neumann won all his 34 games at Berlin in 1885.’

Although Keene asserted that his extracts were from the second Addicts book, that edition (page 129) gave the date correctly as 1865:

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In 1865 Neumann was co-editing with Anderssen the Neue Berliner Schachzeitung, which is our prime source for information about the tournament in question:

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March 1865, page 85

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April 1865, page 117

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May 1865, page 155

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June 1865, page 179.

The Neue Berliner Schachzeitung gave a few games, all of which are available in databases.

Neumann’s exploit has been widely publicized, e.g. by Irving Chernev on the inside front cover of Chess Review, October 1951 and on page 272 of The Chess Companion (New York, 1968). The correct year, 1865, was specified.

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The remainder of C.N. 9791 discusses similar exploits by Chigorin and Marshall.



Neumann, Hirschfeld and Suhle by Hans Renette and Fabrizio Zavatarelli (Jefferson, 2018) was noted in C.N. 10940.

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2. Alexander Neumann (1856-1903)

The March 1890 BCM (page 100) reported that ‘the following pretty ending occurred in a game recently played at the Vienna Club’.

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White to move

White (Neumann) defeated an unnamed opponent with 1 Qe4 Qxg5+ 2 Kc6 ‘and Black cannot save mate. Had Black made any other move than taking the pawn, it will be seen that White equally wins.’

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From Ken Whyld (Caistor, England):

‘Readers may be puzzled to see that Neumann (who died in 1881) played a game “recently” in the 1890 BCM. It was not the Neumann but a Neumann; in fact Alexander Neumann (1856-1903). The original publication was in Österreichische Lesehalle, January 1887, page 31. The position is rotated, which affects variations using promotion. It is noted on page 123 (April) that what was in fact played was 1 Qd5 Qxb4+ 2 Kf3 Qe1 3 Qh5+ Kg1 4 Qg4+ Kf1 5 Qg2 mate, and that other replies would not have helped. Thus after 1...Qg6+ 2 Kf4+ Kh2 3 Qe5!, or 1 ...Qf6 2 Qh5+, followed by an exchange of queens, or 1...Qg3 2 b5.’

Michael Sharpe (Calgary, Canada) points out that this (rotated) position is also given on page 103 of The Tactics of End-Games by Jenő Bán (‘A. Neumann, 1887’) and page 144 of volume three of Lehr- und Handbuch der Endspiele by André Chéron (‘from a game by Neumann, 1887’).

The most detailed analysis we have found is on pages 75-76 of Johann Berger’s Theorie und Praxis der Endspiele, which acknowledges the Austrian journal as its source. P.W. Sergeant, in turn, credited Berger when using the position on pages 98-99 of An Introduction to the Endgame at Chess.

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For further such positions see Queen Endings.



3. Augustin Neumann (1879-1906)

In the early part of the twentieth century a now forgotten player won a tournament jointly with Vidmar (whom he defeated in the play-off), ahead of Důras, Spielmann and Nimzowitsch. Less than two years later he died in hospital, at the age of 26.

The player in question was Augustin Neumann (1879-1906) of Vienna, and the tournament was the Coburg, 1904 Hauptturnier A. His most spectacular win, played on 2 August, was as Black against Gregory:

1 d4 c5 2 e4 cxd4 3 Nf3 Nc6 4 Nxd4 g6 5 Nc3 Bg7 6 Be3 d6 7 Be2 Nf6 8 O-O Bd7 9 f4 O-O 10 h3 Ne8 11 a3 Kh8 12 Kh2 f5 13 Bf3 e5 14 Nde2 g5 15 g3 exf4 16 gxf4 g4 17 Bg2 gxh3 18 Bf3 fxe4 19 Nxe4 Qe7 20 c3 Be6 21 b4 Bc4 22 Qd2 Rd8 23 Rg1

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23...Ne5 24 Ng5 Qxg5 25 fxe5 Qxe5+ 26 Bf4 Bxe2 27 Bxe5 Bxe5+ 28 Kxh3 Rxf3+ 29 Kg2

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29...Nc7 30 Qxe2 Rg3+ 31 Kh1 Rh3+ 32 Kg2 Rh2+ 33 Kf1 Rf8+ 34 Ke1 Bxc3+ 35 Kd1 Rxe2 36 Kxe2 Bxa1 37 White resigns.

Source: Coburg, 1904 tournament book, pages 126-127.

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Augustin Neumann

From Neumann’s many combinative wins which are not well known, we pick the following:

Augstin Neumann – W.H.B. Meiners
Hilversum, August 1903
Giuoco Piano

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Bc5 4 O-O Nf6 5 c3 d6 6 d4 exd4 7 cxd4 Bb6 8 Nc3 Bg4 9 Be3 Qd7 10 Bb5 d5 11 h3 Bh5 12 g4 O-O-O 13 Ne5 Qe6 14 Nxc6 bxc6 15 Ba6+ Kb8 16 exd5 Nxd5 17 Nxd5 cxd5 18 a4 Bxd4 19 Qb3+ Bb6 20 a5 Bxg4 21 axb6 axb6 22 Bf4 Bxh3 23 Rfc1 Rd7 24 Bg3 d4

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25 Bb5 Qxb3 26 Bc6 Resigns.

Source: Schachjahrbuch für 1903 by L. Bachmann, page 142.

A striking surprise occurred in this position, from a game against Nimzowitsch in Vienna in March 1905:

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Neumann (who, in fact, had the edge) brought about a ‘fortress draw’: 51 Bxe5 dxe5 52 Nxb6 Bxb6.

Source: Schachjachrbuch für 1905. I. Teil by L. Bachmann, page 25.

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Tailpiece

An extract from C.N. 10571, concerning issue 18 of the Quarterly for Chess History:

[Vlastimil] Fiala, the Quarterly Editor (whose name appears 14 times in the ‘Content’ – alongside only four other contributors), provides a reminder of his own level of competence. From page 445:

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Despite the introductory word ‘games’, there is only one game-score. It was not played by Aron Nimzowitsch, or against two opponents, or in Zurich, or in 1905, or at odds.

The game, won by the master’s father, Schaie Niemzowitsch, was given in C.N. 683. As noted on page 52 of Kings, Commoners and Knaves, it was published on page 77 of Schachjahrbuch für 1899, II. Theil by Ludwig Bachmann:

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The game-score (1 e4 e5 2 f4 exf4 3 Nf3 g5 4 Bc4 g4 5 O-O gxf3 6 Qxf3 Qf6 7 d3 Bg7 8 Nc3 Nc6 9 Bxf4 Nd4 10 Qf2 d6 11 Nd5 Qd8 12 e5 c6 13 Bg5 Qd7 14 Nc7+ Qxc7 15 Bxf7+ Kd7 16 Qf5+ Nxf5 17 e6 mate) continues to be misascribed, one example being the Chess Tempo database:

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No information has been found about the identity of ‘N. Neumann’.



Latest update: 5 June 2024.

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